Seven Tips to Successfully Quit Smoking in the New Year

(December 14, 2011)

As 2011 comes to a close, we think about making lasting positive changes in our lives to usher in the New Year. This holiday season, countless Americans will make the New Year’s resolution to quit smoking in 2012. Are you one of them?

While quitting smoking is extremely difficult—six out of 10 smokers require multiple quit attempts to stop smoking—preparing a quit-smoking plan can greatly improve a person's chance for success.  

“Quitting smoking is the single most important step smokers can take to improve their health,” said Norman H. Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. “The start of a fresh New Year is a great time for smokers to implement their plan to quit smoking—and reap the health and financial benefits of a smokefree lifestyle.”

What can you do to prepare?

Here are seven proven tips and resources from the American Lung Association that have helped thousands of people give up smoking for good:

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the various types of treatments and different over-the-counter and prescription medications that are available to help you quit smoking.
  • Look into the different options available to help smokers quit. Visit www.lung.org/stop-smoking or call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) for suggestions.
  • Take time to plan. Pick your quit date a few weeks ahead of time and mark it on the calendar. If you can, pick a day when life's extra stresses are not at their peak, such as after the holidays. Mark a day on the calendar and stick to it. As your quit day approaches, gather the medications and tools you need and map out how you are going to handle the situations that make you want to smoke.
  • Get some exercise every day. Walking is a great way to reduce the stress of quitting. Exercise is proven to not only combat weight gain but also to improve mood and energy levels.
  • Eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep.
  • Ask family, friends and co-workers for their help and support. Having someone to take a walk with or just listen can give a needed boost.
  • You don't have to quit alone. Help is available online and in your community. Consider joining a stop-smoking program like Freedom From Smoking® (www.ffsonline.org) from the American Lung Association.

“Smokers don’t have to go it alone when they attempt to quit smoking,” added Dr. Edelman. “In fact, research shows that people who develop a support system and use programs like Freedom From Smoking® Online have greater success in quitting for good, compared to those who try to quit “cold turkey.””

Helping Americans quit smoking remains a public health priority for the American Lung Association. Its Freedom From Smoking® group clinic program—which began in 1981 and includes a comprehensive variety of evidence-based cessation techniques—has helped hundreds of thousands of smokers quit. The American Lung Association more recently introduced Freedom From Smoking® Online, a highly successful, self-paced online adaptation of the group clinic that is available 24 hours a day.